While that headline looks like acronym madness, what it really asks is whether you have to do it yourself (DIY) when it comes to the Internet of Things. The pressure is on for manufacturers — both industrial and consumer — to make their products connected. Samsung’s CEO, BK Yoon, proclaimed that by 2020 all the company’s products will be Internet connected.
Last week Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE, declared that all tech companies will have to become software companies. The idea is that the ability to manage data from products will make or break manufacturers going forward.
The IoT has arrived with the bluster and sky-high promises of the Dot-com era, and it shares a big question with that rush of new technology. Do you do it yourself or job it out to a service company? For many companies, the first instinct is to build a custom solution from the ground up, just as companies forged into website building early on. That solution requires R&D, testing, data management, and a sound security plan. Immelt suggests that’s part of doing business in the Big Data era.
Other companies are turning to service companies to ramp up IoT quick and dirty. One service company, Arrayent, offers a cloud-based out-of-the-box IoT platform and operating system. These service companies tend to fall into two categories, one for consumer products (such as Arrayent) and one for industry (such as PTC’s LiveWorx).
The Arrayent Connect Platform was developed to help consumer product companies such as Whirlpool. “Almost every company making physical things has to think about how connectivity plays in their products,” Shane Dyer, CEO of Arrayent, told Design News . “If you’re a thermostat manufacturer and you’re not making connected thermostats, you’re out of business.”
Dyer emphasized that the trend toward IoT connectivity came on fast, which left manufacturers scrambling. “Two years ago, IoT was stuck in R&D as a division. That shifted quickly,” he said. “Now IoT has become a department in the C suite. Companies are trying to see how they play in this new world. It’s like the Internet in 1998. They know they have to do it or be left behind.”
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